Author's Note: This story is a sequel to my earlier story "Two Roads Diverged," so you do have to have read that one to understand what's going on in this one. It's probably going to be fairly lengthy as well, though maybe a bit more meandering. Fair warning: this story is likely not going to be updated as quickly as the last one. I hope you enjoy it in any case and, as always, I appreciate any comments or reviews you feel like leaving. They mean a lot!
"I believe that when you find love, you have to hold onto it and cherish it. Because there is nothing finer, and it may never come again."
-George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Cory Matthews looks adorable when he is sleeping.
Shawn watches him from the doorway, hardly daring to breathe because Cory is also a light sleeper and Shawn doesn't want to wake him. He admires the way the sunlight is hitting across his bare chest, making his skin look like it is glowing. Cory is wearing a pair of faded plaid pajama pants and nothing else-a sexy sight Shawn never gets tired of-and he is spread across as much of the mattress as he can take up, expressing a kind of confidence he doesn't always show in waking life. His curls are a mess and terribly overgrown (Cory seems perpetually in need of a haircut), and it takes everything in Shawn's power not to go over there and ruffle his fingers through them. Instead he holds his breath and takes note of Cory's dark eyelashes against his white skin, his funny nose, his mouth dropped lazily open, the way his ears stick out a little. He is a thing of beauty, Shawn thinks. And he is mine.
Smiling at this thought, Shawn heads on into the kitchen. It's just after seven, but he's been up for several hours already. A thought about a plot point awoke him and he couldn't get back to sleep after that. He's spent the morning typing away, but now it's getting close when Cory will wake up and Shawn wants to spend some time with him before he heads out to work.
In the kitchen, he sets up the coffee to brew for the second time that morning and starts rummaging around for something to make. His first choice is frozen waffles, but Cory's been on a tear about relying too much on processed foods, so he takes out the eggs instead. He makes a bit of a mess (he's glad Cory's not watching him; this would drive Cory crazy) but ends up with some passable fried eggs and bacon. He puts everything together on a tray and heads back to the bedroom.
Cory's sitting up and blinking when Shawn comes in. "Somebody order breakfast in bed?" Shawn asks him.
Cory smiles groggily and looks over the tray as Shawn lays it down in front of him.
"I made it from scratch," Shawn tells him.
"It's bacon and eggs."
"How else would you make them?"
Shawn shrugs and helps himself to a sip of Cory's coffee. "You could have had Eggos. I can go pop some in the toaster if you'd rather. Never mind that I slaved over a hot stove so that you could have real bacon and eggs from scratch."
Cory takes a bite of bacon. "I've gotta start doing the shopping. We need to eat healthier." Then he points the remainder of the bacon strip at Shawn and asks him, "Did you eat?"
Shawn's instinct is to ignore this question because he hates that Cory still feels he has to check in on him, but he also recognizes that it's coming from a good place, so he replies evenly, "Yes. I had a banana and a bowl of oatmeal."
"That processed instant stuff?"
"Sorry I didn't fire up a cauldron of steel cut oats and milk a cow. I was kinda trying to work."
"How'd that go?" Cory drags a piece of toast through his egg yolk, "Get a lot written?"
"A bit." He takes another sip of Cory's coffee and nods toward his plate. "I should have made you hash browns to go with that. Don't know why I didn't think of that."
"It's okay. God knows I don't need any more grease."
"We were out of kale and wheat germ," Shawn grumbles and lays back across the foot of the bed. He hates this healthy eating kick Cory's been on lately. Ever since he saw the photos Shawn took of him on the beach this summer, he's been going on about how he needs to start eating better and working out. Just talking about it, though, not actually doing anything about it, which Shawn's finding increasingly annoying. Shawn also thinks that Cory looks just fine the way he is. He hates that Cory beats up on himself like that. And those pictures from the beach are some of Shawn's favorites he's ever taken, Cory captured looking gorgeous and relaxed and happy.
"Thanks for making me breakfast," Cory says as he finishes up and starts stacking everything back on the tray, "That was sweet."
Shawn shrugs but since he's laying down it isn't really perceptible. Cory moves the tray to the floor and then leans over Shawn, looking him in the face. "Thank you," he says and kisses him.
"Do you have any idea how fucking sexy you are when you're sleeping?" Shawn asks him, calmly admiring how Cory's dark eyes are a much more complex mixture of lighter and darker browns in the sunlight than they appear to be most of the time.
"I'm sexy when I'm awake too."
"Nah. You're just wholesome and friendly."
Cory laughs. "Screw you."
"Not that wholesome and friendly aren't sexy," Shawn adds, reaching up to touch Cory's chest. This is always the first part of him he wants to touch, "It's just a different brand of sexy."
Cory moves out of his reach and climbs up from the bed. "I better get ready. I've got so much work waiting for me."
Shawn sighs in disappointment. "I never see you anymore."
Cory starts opening drawers, pulling out clean clothes for the day. "Meet me for lunch."
"Come on. What good is working from home if you can't duck out to meet your boyfriend for lunch?"
Even after all these months it's still a little thrilling and a little weird to hear Cory refer to himself as Shawn's boyfriend. The term feels simultaneously inadequate and overly romantic to describe their relationship. "Maybe," Shawn says, "If I get a little more written. I'll text you. You need help getting undressed?"
"I think I can handle pulling off my pajama pants."
"I don't know. That elastic can be tricky."
Cory just throws him an amused look and heads into the bathroom.
Cory checks his email on his phone while riding the subway to work. There's new emails from his lawyer, from Topanga, from her lawyer. It's been almost nine months since they separated but the divorce proceedings are still dragging on. Despite the fact that it's not acrimonious, that neither is seeking fault or alimony, there's still so much to untangle. They own real estate together, cars, investment plans, savings accounts...Cory would happily give up all claim to any of it just to have this process over with and be able to move on with his life, but Topanga is determined that things must be done as fairly as possible (even her divorce must be an over-achiever's divorce) and so it drags on, every last detail hashed out over polite emails and reams of paperwork and many, many billable hours. Cory skims the emails, sends replies. Then he gets a text notification and happily closes out his email app.
The text is a photo from Shawn. He's snapped a picture of his toe poking through the top of his sock. The same sock Cory's been on him for weeks to toss out because it's full of holes. But for reasons neither of them fully understands, Shawn has continued to wear the sock. Cory laughs at the photo and feels warm with affection.
He sits back in his seat and marvels, not for the first time, at how easy things have been since the initial drama of making this life change. He'd stayed on in New York with Shawn, sent out a very brief email to his family formally informing them of the situation (after counting on Amy Matthews to break the news informally first), and then settled into the business of building his new life. He took the job with Shawn's friend Tom, had Topanga ship him all his clothes, updated his address and then...that was it. A new life, just like that. It actually felt a little too quick and easy and Cory has found himself constantly waiting for some other shoe to drop. So far, though, it hasn't.
The whole sexuality thing had gone more smoothly than one would think. The labels were weird-identifying yourself as one thing, then having to identify yourself as something else-that was a little awkward, admittedly. Cory sometimes forgot he was supposed to be "gay" now and that a whole slew of political and cultural identity issues came with this. His feelings hadn't changed-he'd always been attracted to men and though he'd been denying it publicly for his adult life, he'd accepted it as the truth in private for many years now-but his label had changed. Now his label acknowledged publicly what it hadn't before. But Cory didn't think about the label much in his day to day life. It was easy to forget, living in New York where no one batted an eye and where everyone only knew him under this new label. Going back to Philadelphia was a little more strange, if only because people were familiar with his old label. But to Cory's mind, this was all a lot easier than it might have been. Maybe because he'd been mistaken for gay for so long. It was something people had always assumed about him upon first meeting him, the same way people also seemed to assume that he was far more religious or conservative than he actually was. For whatever reason, these were labels people always seemed to think suited him. And now, on one count at least, they were right. Cory found that he actually spent less time correcting people these days.
As far as Shawn was concerned, the labels were fairly irrelevant. Shawn had occupied some space between the boundaries of the labels for as long as Cory could remember. Even in high school, Cory could recall being slightly unnerved at how Shawn would flirt with male waiters to get them better service or accept attentions from strange men in public places without getting bent out of shape about it. He was careful, of course, at school and at home, to only pursue his reputation as a ladies man-he had no interest in making life any more difficult for himself at that point. Cory would later find out, though, that Shawn had certainly explored his options on the down-low during this period. He pursued this exploration further in college; it was largely the impetus behind his break-up with Angela following student orientation Freshman year, but Shawn quickly realized that he had little interest in giving up one sex to be exclusive to the other. He liked both sexes and was only invested in exclusivity on a person by person basis. Once he got to New York, Shawn had finally felt free to drop all pretenses of being strictly "straight." He slept around with men and women indiscriminately and everyone he came to know in the city was only acquainted with him as operating within this space of fluid sexuality; they accepted it without question because they'd never known him as anything else. Shawn was comfortable with this state of affairs and Cory, moving into Shawn's life, had found it surprisingly easy to slip into this casual way of thinking about things.
It's easy to slip into Shawn's way of thinking about everything, really. That's his charisma at work and it is part of what Cory loves about him. But it's also not always a good thing, to Cory's mind. He's picking up some of Shawn's bad habits, he's noticed. Like leaving stuff out instead of putting it away, drinking out of other people's glasses without asking (Cory's only caught himself doing this with Shawn so far, thank goodness), or eating like he's an eleven-year-old boy. This last one's really starting to bother him. Shawn's metabolism can take that, but Cory's can't. And Cory already feels self-conscious about just being average-looking. He's noticed the way men and women alike check Shawn out when they go out to shops and bars. He knows that Shawn is an attractive guy and could have his pick of other equally attractive people to sleep with. When Cory looks in the mirror at his stupid hair, his goofy features, or sees his belly in those awful pictures from the beach, he feels like he's letting Shawn down. Sometimes he lies awake at night, watching Shawn sleep and wondering how long it will be before Shawn tires of him and leaves him for someone better looking and cooler, more hip or fun or whatever.
But now he's at his stop, so Cory pushes away such thoughts as he rises, heads out, and starts thinking about all the projects that are awaiting him in the office.
Work is going well, for the most part. Cory loved almost every aspect of the little editing job he'd started with and discovered he had a real aptitude for the software and a good feel for editing in general. Recently, he's been promoted so that now he's working directly with Tom, Shawn's friend and former lover who got Cory the initial job. Cory's happy about the promotion and the job in general, glad to be doing work that he finds interesting and challenging for the the first time in his adult life. He can't deny, though, that it's increasingly taking over his life. He goes in early, stays late on the regular and most nights takes projects home to work on. Also increasingly taking over his thoughts is Tom, with whom Cory spends the majority of his days working side by side in the dark little editing bay.
Being around Tom so much makes Cory a little nervous. He's a friendly guy but very good at what he does and this is intimidating. He's also an incredibly handsome man: tall and slender but muscular with perfectly tousled hair and a square jaw like a Calvin Klein model. Cory is torn between being incredibly attracted to Tom and being insanely jealous that Tom and Shawn had "fucked each other's brains out on the regular," as Shawn had put it once. But Tom is nice, too, and smart and funny, all of which make things more complicated. It's really hard to dislike him. He also seems to have taken to Cory and has done a lot to help him find his place at the company. Cory's grateful for this and, though he'd be loathe to admit to anyone, he's developed a bit of a crush on Tom. Cory's caught himself on more than one occasion fantasizing about Tom. But then they'll be chatting about something and Tom will stretch to reach some equipment off a shelf and Cory will look at his perfect body and picture him naked with Shawn. Picture him fucking Shawn. Picture Shawn fucking Tom. And then Cory becomes blind with jealousy and loses all ability to think about work again for at least the next hour. It's starting to be a real problem.
But he arrives into the office and Tom's not in yet and Cory takes a deep breath. He gets a cup of coffee, fires up his computer, and banishes all thoughts of Tom and Shawn and whatever happened before Cory came into the picture and whatever will probably happen once Shawn tires of him and kicks Cory back out of the picture. It's time to get some actual work done.
Shawn stares at the blinking cursor on his Word document. He's been staring at it for the last ten minutes but, still, nothing has happened. No words have magically appeared on the screen. It's been a shitty day for writing, a shitty week, really, and he doesn't know why. He thought he'd had a good idea this morning, but now it's starting feel like crap and he hasn't managed to write a damn word since Cory left for work. Annoyed, he closes the laptop and starts to wander the apartment.
In the old days, he would have gotten himself a drink, a little bit of whiskey or just a beer to loosen his frustration. But he's trying not to do that these days. He's trying to cut back on a lot of things he knows make Cory nervous, so instead he picks up a tennis ball that he keeps around just for this purpose and starts tossing it from one hand to the other as he paces.
Eventually, he ends up in Sadie's room. She only occupies the room every other weekend right now, but he and Cory have worked to make it feel like home for her. She picked out the particular shade of green paint and the purple polka dot bedding herself. The walls are covered with pictures of animals-the kid is obsessed with animals-and there is a growing collection of games and toys on the bookshelves. It's a cheerful place and Shawn often finds himself spending time in here during the day when no one else is home.
The latest item added to the room is a fish tank. Sadie hasn't seen it yet, and Shawn can hardly wait until she finds the surprise this weekend. His initial plan was to get her a puppy. She'd go nuts for a puppy and it would be something that would make coming to Manhattan much more special. Shawn also likes the idea because he knows Anna won't let Sadie have a dog at home. But Cory argued they weren't ready for the responsibility of a dog and seemed really uneasy about the whole thing, so Shawn abandoned the idea for the time being. Fish tank it is.
It's a nice little tank, he thinks, as he sits on the edge of the bed and watches it. The guy at the pet shop had recommended fancy guppies as they're easy to take care of, come in lots of colors, and are cheap enough to replace should one or two go belly up. So they'd bought a bag of guppies, a snail, and about $60 worth of aquarium supplies. In addition to all the tubes and aerators and pumps, there's a Spongebob Squarepants pineapple house for the guppies to swim through, some colorful coral, a plastic plant, and sparkly purple gravel. Shawn wasn't keen on the sparkly purple gravel, but Cory pointed out that the fish won't care but Sadie would like it so, of course, Shawn gave in. He is a sucker for anything Cory or Sadie want.
His phone dings then with a message notification. He checks it out, hoping it's from Cory who sometimes sends him dirty text messages when least expected (Cory Matthews is dirtier than anyone would have thought), but is disappointed to see that it's from Anna instead. Already irritated just by the sight of her name, he opens the message.
We need to talk. Call you tonight?
Shawn glares at the message. He thinks of about a dozen nasty replies he'd like to send but then takes a deep breath and writes back neutrally.
That's fine. Call whenever you want.
After he sends it, he feels a great urge to throw his phone against the wall. But he doesn't. Instead he sends Cory a message.
What time can you take lunch?
Writing is shit, Anna is no doubt going to call bearing more shit, and he really wants a drink. Time to get the hell out of the house.
"Hey, you ready?"
Cory is startled from his concentration and bumps his knees into the bottom of his desk as he jumps. He grimaces, but when he realizes it's Shawn who's poking his head into the room, he quickly replaces that expression with a smile. "Hey! Sure. Just give me a minute."
"Okay." Shawn ducks back out of the room, presumably heading to the lobby.
Cory takes a minute to finish up what he's doing, save everything, then goes out to find him. Shawn never made it to the lobby, though. He ran into Tom who's talking to him now with, Cory notices with laser-like vision, a hand on Shawn's arm.
"Hey!" Cory shouts, plowing down the hall toward them, "I'm ready to go."
Tom drops his hand from Shawn's arm as he steps back. "You guys going to lunch?"
"Yep," Cory says, putting a hand on Shawn's chest protectively, "We're heading out. Right now." He gives Shawn a couple of pats on the chest, like he's a labrador retriever, or something, and ignores the puzzled look Shawn's giving him.
"Do you wanna join us?" Shawn asks Tom politely. Cory could kill him.
"Aw, thanks, but I've got a meeting. Another time."
"Sure," Cory says just a little too quickly, and starts to steer Shawn toward the door.
"It was nice to see you, Shawn," Tom calls after them.
"You too," Shawn calls back, forcibly removing Cory's hand from his shoulder. When they get outside Shawn drops his polite smile. "What the hell was that about?"
"Nothing. You wanna go to that diner you like?"
Shawn shrugs. Great, Cory thinks, Shawn's in a shitty mood. They don't really talk as they make their way down the block to the diner and the trend continues even after they've ordered. It's not until half-way through his salad that Cory notices Shawn's playing with his hamburger instead of eating it and breaks the silence.
Shawn looks up. "What do you mean?"
"You're not eating."
Cory gives him a look and Shawn reexamines his plate, realizes that he has, in fact, not actually eaten any of it. He picks up his hamburger and takes three bites in a row. "Sorry," he says with his mouth full.
"So, what's wrong?" Cory asks after Shawn's made some decent headway on his meal.
"I don't know. It's just been a crappy morning."
"Yeah. What'd you work on today?"
"I spent most of the morning on the Toyota one."
"The thing for the trade show?"
"Yeah. It's actually...I'm really happy with how it's coming out."
Shawn finally smiles. He always seems to like hearing Cory talk about work. Cory finds this encouraging and ends up babbling about the video for the rest of lunch. Shawn doesn't seem to mind. By the time they pay their check, he appears to be in a much better mood.
"Do you have to go back right away or can you take a little more time?" he asks Cory.
Cory checks his watch. "I have a little time. Why?"
"I gotta go shopping since Sadie's coming tomorrow. I thought you might want to come with and pick out some of the stuff you want. The healthy stuff."
Cory smiles and agrees, though inside he's cringing a little. Shawn always goes overboard buying groceries for Sadie's visits. Then the two grown men get stuck eating Go-gurt and string cheese and juice boxes for the next week after. It's a little ridiculous. But Cory doesn't complain about this. He's very careful not to say anything about the whole Sadie situation that could be construed as criticism because Shawn's so sensitive about it. And Shawn's trying so hard to be a good dad. It's actually quite touching. Cory doesn't want to do anything to disturb that.
At the grocery store Shawn fills his basket with the usual abundance of Sadie supplies while Cory seeks out some fresh vegetables and a good deal on chicken breasts. After filling his own basket with virtuous grown-up food, Cory wanders the aisles looking for Shawn again. He sees him at the far end of one aisle but then pauses. There's a very attractive woman standing not too far from Shawn, giving him a look that Cory recognizes. It's a look of lust and interest. She's about two seconds away from approaching him.
Cory hustles down the aisle and slips his arm around Shawn's waist. Shawn is surprised but accepts his kiss. "We should go," Cory informs him.
"Okay. Do you think she needs anything else?" Shawn holds out the very full basket for Cory's approval. Everything is covered with cartoon characters and colorful labels.
"She weighs about forty pounds. I think that'll be enough to sustain her for three days."
"I overdo it, don't I?"
"No, no never." He gives Shawn another kiss and steers him safely away from the woman and toward the register. They get through the check-out, then have to part ways once they leave the store, Shawn heading in one direction with the groceries, Cory heading in the other back to work.
"Are you all right?" Shawn asks him.
"You're acting...nervous, or something."
"Nope," Cory shakes his head too effusively, "Not nervous at all."
"Okay," Shawn says, obviously not quite believing him but not pushing it. "See you when you get home, then."
"Yeah," Cory gives him a quick peck, "I'll try not to be too late."
Shawn turns and starts walking back toward the subway, but then the attractive woman from the grocery store comes out and something possesses Cory to holler after Shawn, "I want you to suck my balls off tonight!"
Shawn freezes and then pivots back to face him. Even from a distance of several yards, Cory can see him blushing.
Cory gives him a stupid grin.
Shawn smiles back, hesitantly. "Okay, then!" he says, "I look forward to it!" Then, shaking his head, he turns around and marches off.
Cory watches him go, then exhales deeply. "What is wrong with me?" he whispers.
Back in the office, he runs almost smack into Tom in the editing bay.
"Oh, hey, sorry," Tom says, stepping back.
"It's okay," Cory mutters. He steps past him into the room and hangs his hoodie over the back of his chair. He throws himself into the chair but then turns to Tom. "Hey, Tom?"
"You work out, right?"
"Well," Tom kids flirtatiously, "Thank you for noticing."
"No, I mean, obviously you work out. Do you go to a gym around here?"
"Uh, yeah. About three blocks west of here, actually."
"Do you like it?"
"Yeah, it's a nice place. Why? You looking to join a gym?"
"Well, that's cool," Tom says, "I think they give me a gift card, or something, if I refer a new member. Want me to get you some info?"
"That'd be great," Cory says, "I really need to start working out."
Tom gives him a knowing nod and sits down next to him. "Shawn, right? That'd drive me crazy too. It used to make me nuts when we'd go to parties. People just acted like I didn't even exist, practically jumping over me to get in his pants."
Cory is completely shocked by this turn in the conversation. He blinks a little too much and says the first thought that pops into his head which is, "But you look like an underwear model."
Tom laughs (he has a great laugh, Cory secretly loves it) and shakes his head. "Yeah, I don't know. He's got that charisma, man. I mean, you know it. It's crazy hot. People just fall over themselves for it."
"Yeah, I do," Cory agrees, feeling oddly comforted despite the awkwardness of this conversation. He hasn't really been able to talk to anybody about how it feels to actually be in a relationship with Shawn. "You should've tried going to high school with him," he says, "I think he hooked up with, like, seventy percent of our graduating class. Thank god I was still in the closet then so I couldn't take it personally."
Tom laughs again. "I don't know how you do it. It wasn't long before I couldn't take it anymore and decided we were better off as friends. But, then, I never saw Shawn as being the kind of guy to be in an exclusive relationship, or whatever, so what do I know?"
Cory realizes, rationally, that this statement was intended to make him feel better. It makes him feel far, far worse, however. He plasters on a smile for Tom, and then he turns to his computer, signaling the end of the conversation. He pulls up a bunch of screens but doesn't see any of them. His mind now somewhere else entirely.
Cory can always tell upon arriving home when Shawn has been in touch with Anna. He'll be tight-lipped and short-tempered all night, kicking things around, snapping at everything Cory says. Cory's general policy, as with all things related to Anna and Sadie, is to stay out of it. He'll let Shawn fume and slam cabinet doors and get it out of his system. Eventually, he'll crawl into bed all sweetness and apologies and, while playing with Cory's curls, tell him about something funny Sadie did on video chat. After six months of court battles and three months of the new shared custody arrangement, Cory has gotten quite used to this.
So when he gets home this evening and Shawn is throwing books across the office instead of just moving them, Cory already knows that something Anna-related has gone down. He tiptoes around Shawn while unpacking his things from work and changing into his pajamas. He waits for him to eventually calm down. It doesn't seem to be happening, though.
Finally, as Cory is peeling an orange in the kitchen, Shawn stomps in and throws himself onto one of the bar stools. "Sadie's not coming this weekend."
"Why? Is she sick?"
"Oh, no," Shawn says bitterly, "She's fine. But she got invited to a birthday party and Anna thinks it's important that she go."
"I know. Like taking six years of Sadie away from me wasn't enough. Now she's gotta take my weekends."
"She can't do that. She's violating the terms. Call the lawyer."
"No," Shawn sighs and slumps over the counter, resting his chin on his arms, "I don't want to do that. I don't want everything to turn into calling the lawyer."
"Well, are you gonna get an extra weekend, then? Two in a row?"
"No. She's got a bunch of school and family things scheduled."
Cory watches Shawn for a minute and tries to decide how to proceed. He knows what Shawn should do (call the lawyer because this is bullshit, like Cory said), but Cory also feels like it's not his place to push it. And he can see defeat settling into Shawn's shoulders. All the anger is draining out of him and he's going to be exhausted soon. Who knows how long he's been raging about this before Cory got home.
"I'm sorry," Cory finally offers, "That sucks."
Shawn lays his head down and closes his eyes.
"Did you eat?" Cory asks.
"I'm not hungry."
Cory hands him the peeled orange and starts immediately pulling things out of the fridge and the pantry to throw together something decent for dinner. He does it as much to as a way to take care of Shawn as to cover up his own guilt at feeling slightly relieved that Sadie won't be coming this weekend.
It's not that Cory doesn't like having her around-Sadie's a great kid and Cory loves seeing the side of Shawn that comes out when he's with her-but Cory has to work so hard to stay out of the way when she's here. Shawn's had so little time with his daughter, only a handful of weekends, really, since the arrangement was formalized, that Cory's been consciously trying to give them as much time together one on one as possible. So Cory's mostly found reasons to go into work every weekend that she's been around and to stay late there, or to take the train into Philly to visit his parents. But it's tiring and Cory's always relieved once Sadie's back at her mother's house and Cory can relax in his own apartment again, even if Shawn's always melancholy for a good day or two after she leaves. Frankly, Cory's just tired of having his life disrupted every other week and putting up with the inevitable emotional turmoil the whole thing puts Shawn through. Maybe that's selfish, but it's how he feels.
After dinner, Shawn takes his sleeping pill and sulks on his side of the bed. Cory turns off the light and cuddles up next to him, wrapping his arms around him. He buries his face in the crook of Shawn's neck and inhales his scent.
"I've just missed so much already," Shawn says softly.
"I know," Cory keeps his face where it is, speaking into Shawn, "Did you feed the fish?"
"Shit." Shawn bolts out of bed and pads off the Sadie's room. When he returns a few minutes later and crawls back under the covers he laughs. "I'll be lucky if I can keep them alive another two weeks until she actually gets to see them."
"Don't worry," Cory tells him, re-wrapping him in his arms, "I'll be here to make sure there's no guppy genocide."
"I'm so glad you're here, Cor."
Shawn wakes up with his arms wrapped loosely around Cory. He lays there for a few seconds, remembering what day of the week it is, what happened the day before, his annoyance at Anna, his frustration with the writing, the heaviness in his heart he feels knowing he won't see Sadie for another two weeks. He presses his face between Cory's shoulder blades, feeling the soft cotton of his undershirt, the warm, reassuring presence of his body underneath it. He breathes it all in and out deeply for a while.
Then his hand finds its way around Cory's side, under his t-shirt. He presses into the comforting softness of his belly and then down to his hip and under the waistband of his boxers. Cory doesn't stir. Shawn makes his way to Cory's cock and wraps his hand around it. He holds it firmly, at first just enjoying the weight of it. Then, gradually, he begins to move his hand around a bit, squeeze and release, until Cory starts to grow hard.
He hears a slight hitch in Cory's breathing but keeps going. Sleepily, Cory curves his body toward Shawn's grip, encouraging him. Shawn keeps going, greatly enjoying the sound of Cory's hitching breath, the jerking of his chest, the mixture of pain and pleasure on his face, eyes still closed but now held tight on purpose. Shawn removes his hand briefly to spit in it, then he slips it back into Cory's shorts and resumes pulling him off. It happens quickly from there. After, Shawn pulls his hand out slowly, wipes it on the sheet and then lays back on his arm to watch Cory panting.
Cory Matthews is sexy as hell in the morning. And, Shawn thinks with satisfaction, He's all mine.